Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 447–462 | Cite as

Frustration of Life Goals Mediates the Negative Effect of Unemployment on Subjective Well-Being

  • Karsten Ingmar PaulEmail author
  • Jaana Vastamäki
  • Klaus Moser
Research Paper


The present study investigated whether unemployment influences the importance and the realization of life goals and whether a reduced realization of life goals mediates the negative effect of unemployment on subjective well-being. A sample of 256 employed and unemployed German adults was studied with scales measuring six different life goal domains (power, achievement, variety, altruism, intimacy, affiliation). Only weak differences between unemployed and employed people were found for importance ratings of life goals. However, current realization of life goals, particularly of agency goals such as power, achievement and variety, was significantly lower among unemployed persons than among employed persons. Thus, unemployment did not change the goals people wanted to achieve in their lifetime, but it inhibited the success of these strivings. Furthermore, current realization of life goals was found to be a mediator of the detrimental effect of unemployment on life satisfaction and positive/negative affect.


Unemployment Life goals Subjective well-being Eudaimonic well-being Hedonic well-being Mental health 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karsten Ingmar Paul
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jaana Vastamäki
    • 1
  • Klaus Moser
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Business and EconomicsFriedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU)NürnbergGermany

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